The Benefits of Having a Coach: Why It's Important for Your Growth

Having a coach is an invaluable asset for personal and professional growth. A coach provides the space and structure for reflection that is necessary for learning and development. They help you understand your values and how your actions differ from them, as well as reconnect with what you love about your life and work. Coaching takes a collaborative and empowering approach, guiding team members towards their own ingenuity and insight.

The survey doesn't contain data on the mechanics of how those commitments change, but in my 35 years of working in the field, I've observed that, generally, it's about coaches rehiring executives. Some coaching groups are evolving in this direction, but most are still boutique firms specializing in managing and interpreting 360-degree evaluations. But we all know people who can't make a decision without talking to their psychotherapists first, and some executives turn to their coaches in the same way. Since some executives will have mental health problems, companies should require that coaches have some training in mental health issues, for example, that they know when to refer clients to professional therapists for help.

In these cases, your coach becomes a kind of interlocutor, someone with whom you can exchange strategic ideas. The coach's and coach's goals may be exactly the same, but the approach is completely different. If an executive who has already had substantial career success needs professional development counseling, then it's quite reasonable that everyone else would also benefit significantly from professional development training. This raises important questions for companies that hire coaches, such as whether a coach other than a psychologist can work ethically with an executive who has an anxiety disorder.

At the same time, entrepreneurs needed to develop not only quantitative capabilities, but also people-oriented skills, and many coaches are useful for this. Beyond that, respondents had strong and sometimes diverging opinions about what matters most when hiring a coach. To understand what they do to deserve that money, HBR conducted a survey of 140 outstanding coaches and invited five experts to comment on the findings. However, the survey results also suggest that the industry is plagued by conflicts of interest, blurred lines between what is competence of coaches and what should be left to mental health professionals, and incomplete mechanisms for monitoring the effectiveness of coaching participation. While it can be difficult to establish explicit links between the coaching intervention and the performance of an executive, it is certainly not difficult to obtain basic information about the improvements in that executive's managerial behaviors.

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